I have chosen Ronald McNair’s occupation of an astronaut for my research. NASA, introduced the first astronauts on April 9, 1959. NASA had a set goal to beat the USSR in manned space flight. The selection process to choose the first astronauts was very demanding. They were given many tests, that include medical and psychological screenings, and even at one point tortured for six days and three nights, to test their tolerance of physical and psychological stress. At the end of these tests, seven men prevailed out of the 508 military pilots that were screened, and were forever labeled as astronauts. These men were known as the “Mercury Seven.”
|The "Mercury Seven"|
Today, to be even considered in the selection process you must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in the following fields: Engineering, Biological Science, Physical Science, Computer Science, or Mathematics. Flying experience is not a requirement but if you do want to be a commander and pilot you must log 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Also, you must be between 58.5 and 76 inches tall and must be able to pass a basic physical that is very much like a military physical. Having military experience is not a requirement.
It can take up to two years to be trained to be considered a fully qualified astronaut. They must learn the basics of the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle. If they are going to be a crew member on the ISS, then they must take language classes to speak to the Russian Mission Control Center. To prepare for microgravity, the training astronauts are put into a C-9 (a Navy transport plane), where they are weightless for 25-30 seconds in flight. The plane was dubbed the “Vomit Comet” because even experienced astronauts would get sick. These are just the basic training programs. Though many astronauts are very intellectual, the learning never stops.
|A US astronaut in space overlooking the earth. Was this the first "selfie" in space?|
Notable Astronauts include: Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), Sally Ride (Challenger) , Sen. John Glenn (Mercury Seven), and many more